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AVENA sativa

  • Planting

    1. Dig holes or beds wide, not deep
    2. Lightly amend heavy clay or sandy soils with organic matter
    3. Gently remove plants from containers, keeping the root ball intact
    4. Loosen potting soil and roots around bottom and edges of root ball
    5. Plant level with surrounding soil, spreading roots outward
    6. Fill around roots with lightly amended native soil
    7. Water to settle soil around roots
    8. Cover the area with leaf or bark mulch 1 - 3 inches thick but not piled up onto the plant's stem/trunk
    9. Water deeply

  • Watering

    1. Once established, these plants are usually drought hardy and rarely need heavy watering
    2. Too much water can cause foliage problems or root diseases
    3. Water only occasionally, when they have begun to dry out
    4. Water slowly and deeply, not frequently
    5. When possible, water in the morning to keep foliage from remaining wet for too long

  • Pruning

    1. There is usually no real need to prune most grasses at all except to keep them neat and attractive
    2. Cut ornamental grasses either in the fall to keep them neat through the winter, or in late winter before new growth comes out to avoid damaging it for the entire season
    3. Never burn ornamental grasses to remove old growth; this often kills the center crown and can be dangerous as well

  • Propagation

    1. Cut back old foliage to help make handling easier (watch for wasp nests!)
    2. Use a saw or sharpened shovel to cut into and divide the center of the clump through the roots
    3. Dig underneath the portion to be removed
    4. Remove and replant as soon as possible

  • Fertilization

    Most plants need a regular "diet" of all-purpose plant food, either specialty (labeled for your specific plant type) or a generic N-P-K (nitrogen - phosphorus - potassium)

    Fertilize early in the plant's growing cycle - spring for summer plants, fall for winter plants

    • For leafy plants, use a fertilizer with a higher nitrogen content (first number)
    • For flowering or fruiting plants, use a fertilizer higher in phosphorous content (middle number)

    If using a water soluble fertilizer:

    1. Mix as directed on container according to directions
    2. Wet the leaves and drench soil
    3. Repeat

    If using a granulated fertilizer:

    1. Scatter a small amount of all-purpose fertilizer lightly under plants from the stem to beyond the outer spread of branches or foliage
    2. Water slowly and deeply

    NOTE: Never over fertilize! You will see lots of weak, leafy growth and few flowers